Hidalgo asks for “belief in science” in the Olympic village – 14.3.2024

PARIS (Reuters) – Countries invited to the Olympics are divided over organizers' decision not to have air conditioning in the Olympic village, a “green” decision welcomed by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who called on athletes to “put their trust in science.

After the record year 2023 in terms of heat, temperatures could rise again this summer in Europe, including in the capital of France, the announced scene of the “greenest Games ever”.

Organizers of the Olympic Games scheduled from July 26 to August 11 have opted for no air conditioning in the athletes' village recently inaugurated in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), focusing on building insulation and cooling systems that are effective even in heat waves.

A system approved by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who has made adaptation to global warming one of the main axes of her city transformation policy.

“We have to believe the science on two things. The first is what the scientists are telling us about the fact that we are on the edge of the precipice. Everyone needs to be aware of that, including the athletes,” she said. they claimed during an interview with Reuters on Wednesday.

“Second, we need to trust scientists when they help us build buildings in a sober way that allows us to operate without air conditioning.”

However, she added, the athletes “do what they want”.

In the eyes of the councilor, the priority is the sustainability of the athletes' village, where around 6,000 people will move after the Games.

“This village is designed to avoid the need for air conditioning, even in very, very high temperatures, and to maintain comfortable temperatures,” she emphasized.

“What is important to me is that these buildings, these apartments will become a neighborhood where the residents of L'Ile-Saint-Denis, Saint-Ouen and Saint-Denis (in the suburbs of Paris) will live who will not need air conditioning,”, she explained. “We work for the long term.”

DIVIDED DELEGATIONS

The Olympic committees of several countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada and Norway, have expressed doubts about the system's effectiveness.

“It is our clear desire to have air conditioning in all rooms,” the Norwegian committee told Reuters, while the Brazilian committee assessed that the “heat forecast” made it “necessary to invest in the rental of air conditioning units for the entire delegation.”

Australia's mission manager, Anna Meares, is looking for “portable air conditioners to offer to athletes if they want it, if it's hot, if it's uncomfortable.”

The Canadian Olympic Committee told Reuters it had considered the measures “to complement measures put in place by the Paris 2024 organizing committee, including air conditioning units in certain athletes' rooms in case of extreme heat”.

The lack of air conditioning in the Olympic village met with the approval of other delegations.

“In recent years, we have been regularly visiting the Olympic Village in Paris and we believe that the intelligent cooling system installed on the floor and ceiling is sufficient for the climate zone,” said the German Olympic Committee, speaking to Reuters.

“The prevention provided by the windows further contributes to this. However, we asked our associations whether or not they wanted to rent an air conditioning system. The vast majority felt that it was unnecessary,” he added.

(Reporting by Julien Prétot, Elizabeth Pineau, Aadi Nair, Steve Keating and Nick Mulvenney Editing by Blandine Hénault)

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